Players’ chief Damian Hopley insists the injury problems afflicting England are cyclical rather than evidence of an increased rate of attrition in the game.
Seven British and Irish Lions in Alex Corbisiero, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Mako Vunipola, Geoff Parling, Tom Croft and Manu Tuilagi have been ruled out of the entire QBE Series at Twickenham.
Injury updates on Billy Vunipola, Joe Marler, David Wilson and Luther Burrell are expected on Tuesday with Burrell likely to miss at least the opener against New Zealand on Saturday week.
Hopley, chief executive of the Rugby Players’ Association, is unconcerned by the number of casualties and believes it may aid England’s World Cup campaign next year.
“Dare I say it, but it’s a cycle. If these players are not coming back to fitness by the Six Nations then it becomes an issue,” Hopley said. “What it does do is give an opportunity to other players to stake a claim.
“It’s a really unfortunate situation that so many high profile players are injured at the same time, but I don’t think it’s a crisis.
“It’s just part of the cycle of the year and it might be a blessing in disguise for the World Cup, giving players more time off to ensure they’re in great nick for that.”
The RPA has appointed Northampton’s Christian Day as chairman and Chris Bell of Wasps as vice-chairman.